This is how easy it is to buy guns in America

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NEW YORK — It’s not that difficult to buy a gun in America.

Hundreds of stores sell guns, from big chains like Wal-Mart to family-run shops like Ken’s Sporting Goods & Liquor Store in Crescent, Ore.

Or you can attend one of the dozens of gun shows that take place almost every weekend nationwide. People also regularly buy guns from neighbors or family members.

A background check is conducted only in store purchases. There, gun buyers have to fill out a form from the ATF, or the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Required information includes: name, address, place of birth, race and citizenship. A Social Security number is only “optional,” though it’s recommended.

The form also asks questions such as: *Have you ever been convicted of a felony? *Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence? *Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any other depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? *Are you a fugitive from justice? *Have you ever been committed to a mental institution?

The store then calls the FBI, which runs a background check on the person through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, also known as NICS. The background check can just take minutes.

NICS scans federal databases like the National Crime Information Center and Interstate Identification Index for information. If a purchaser has been convicted of a felony, or misdemeanors with sentences exceeding two years, or has been declared “mentally defective” by a court, then he or she won’t pass the background check.

However, denials are rare, occurring less than 1% of the time. “More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials,” the FBI says on its website.

But gun buyers don’t have to go through a background check when they make a purchase at a gun show.

Most Americans live somewhere near a gun show. The website www.gunshows-usa.com lists 29 gun shows scheduled for this coming Father’s Day weekend, from Las Vegas and Philadelphia to Hickory, N.C. and Salmon, Idaho.

You won’t find them in cities like New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., where gun laws are far more restrictive.

[In Washington state, a new law, I-594, passed by voters with 59 percent of the vote last year, created universal background checks for all sales, including those made online or at gun shows, as well as for transfers including many loans and gifts. The measure has exceptions for emergency gun transfers concerning personal safety, gifts between family members, antiques and loans for hunting.]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, and President Obama tried to eliminate the gun show loophole in 2013, with a bill that would have expanded background checks. But Congress didn’t pass it.

The President’s effort came after the killing of 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut.

After this week’s gun violence at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white man killed nine African-Americans in a racially motivated attack, Obama hinted that he might try again.

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this kind of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” he said, in a speech. “It is in our power to do something about it.”

The killer, Dylann Roof, bought his .45-caliber Glock at a gun store in Charleston, where he would have been required to pass a background check. Though he had been arrested earlier this year for trespassing and drug possession, he apparently met the legal criteria.

Roof also displayed racist symbols on Facebook, but the FBI said that kind of information would not come up in a background check, since the database includes information on prohibited persons as defined in the Gun Control Act.

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58 comments

  • greg

    “But gun buyers don’t have to go through a background check when they make a purchase at a gun show.”…..blanket statements like this are patently false and misleading. Just as are the lies that you can buy a gun over the internet. There are multiple federal and state laws already on the books on these 2 topics, yet the disinformation continues to be broadcast.

    in the end, it is the person that commits the crime – not the inanimate object.

    • "peety"

      Yakima is hosting it’s second “No background check” gun show They flaunt in the face of the law and the local cops refuse to do their jobs to arrest the criminals. Shameful

    • alice smith

      “in the end, it is the person that commits the crime – not the inanimate object.”
      That’s the heart of the matter, but mainstream media doesn’t like to deal with logic. Sadly, our mainstream media is nothing any different than communist China’s media where they’re the voice of government propaganda. Oh, the horror, people can buy guns at numerous outlets. Good grief, it wasn’t that long ago in America’s history where you could go to the corner hardware store and purchase a gun with no questions asked. Logic should tell the person of average intelligence, that the guns are not the problem. Sadly, so many leave their brains at the door and go with pure emotional response and the media plays them for fools.

  • hellomurica

    This article is so full of garbage it’s almost funny.

    “But gun buyers don’t have to go through a background check when they make a purchase at a gun show.”
    Bull. When you buy a firearm at a gun show from an FFL dealer, you get a background check. The ONLY time you do not need a background check – and this is important so please pay attention – is when it’s a private sale between two individuals. AND if you don’t live in WA or OR, because even in those states any transfer of a firearm must be accompanied by a background check.

    So here’s the rub – WA crime rates involving a firearm have not trended any differently before or after I-594 went into affect (the law which requires a background check on all transfers). So what you’re whinging on about here has ZERO affect on the crime rate any freaking way.

    “However, denials are rare, occurring less than 1% of the time.”
    No KIDDING, that is because MOST people are not felons, and MOST people have never been committed to a mental institution. You almost sound disappointed that we don’t have more felons and lunatics trying to buy guns. What the hell is wrong with you?

    “Roof also displayed racist symbols on Facebook”
    So what? Because people have fringe ideologies you think they should have their constitutional rights revoked? I suppose if they were radically left, like a rabid feminist, and had “#KillAllMen” posters up you wouldn’t utter a peep about *their* rights, would you?

    This is yet again another infuriatingly stupid attempt by poorly thought-out media hit pieces to sway public opinion, using a tragedy and dead people as their soapbox, to spout their gun control agenda. Your rhetoric is tired, old, and you say absolutely nothing that hasn’t been refuted a million times before.

  • Frank

    For 500.00 and few phone calls I can get a gun. It is easy as buying meth or herion. Gun laws are just feel good. I own no guns but if I wanted one it is truly easy enoughh.

    • "peety"

      yes, if you know where to get Heroin and Meth then you can find an illegal gun. Frank, most of us DON’T KNOW where to buy Heroin and Meth.

  • "peety"

    he should not have passed the background check. He had felony charges on him.

    The Gun Control Act (GCA) makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms. 18 USC 922(g). Transfers of firearms to any such prohibited persons are also unlawful. 18 USC 922(d).

    These categories include any person:

    Under indictment or information in any court for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

      • "peety"

        as usual you are completely backward. Gun control didn’t work because it is too lax. It needs to be made stronger so the next Dylann Roof won’t get a gun. Unless you support the actions of Dylann Roof since you know, racism.

        • hellomurica

          Oh Peety, you poor delusional insane progressive. There’s this thing called statistics, Peety. And if you were able to understand what those statistics reflect, you would understand that crime has been declining, and private firearm ownership has been ticking upward. You have no grounds in reality to argue for more gun control. None. All you can do is the typical emotional pleas, that will fall on deaf ears because America is realizing that people like you are full of shit.

          • "peety"

            gun ownership is not ticking up, it’s the same scared weak “men” who are just buying more guns.

          • greg

            peety – you make it too easy – women are the fastest growing firearm buyer/owner demographic – it really is easy to spot someone that knows little about the subject, maybe you should do some reading?

  • L & L

    Peety seems to support criminal behavior yet wants to ban guns in the hands of civilians. Another brainwashed dilutionist spurting the tripe of impotent sloths, an more than likely not even an American citizen.

    • hellomurica

      That’s Peety for ya. Hug-a-thug, but all for cracking down on the law-abiding. Progressives are inflicted with mental illness.

    • "peety"

      I support criminal behavior? That’s an odd thing to say to the guy who supports common sense gun control regulations.

      • hellomurica

        So in other words, exactly what was said. You want to go after the law-abiding firearm owners, instead of address the criminal element who is walking the streets. You want to lower gun-related crime? Then go after the criminals, NOT THE GUNS, PEETY.

  • Derek

    damm guns
    they all need to be banned.
    a lot of republicans want to lets say ignore the federal government. republicans say the fed government is too powerful too big. I AGRRE lets give the republicans/gun owners what they want. what i mean is lets have a constitutional convention. what that means is the current us constitution will be null and void and a new constitution written. after all our current constitution was written by slave owners. republicans think by doing this their way of thinking we be placed into the new constitution.
    news flash more people are democrats liberals. really close i would guess 45 dems/libs 40 repubs the rest just stupid lazy non voters.
    in the new constitution we can ban guns. repubs will not get what they want.
    in the new constitution we can
    1. ban guns-just hire more police lets have a fed police force an officer on every corner we need drones watching us
    2. allow gay marriage-ignore the bible
    3. allow babies to be killed when they are still in the womb-ignore the bible
    4. allow marijuana to be legal and all drugs
    5. give criminals light sentences so hey can be rehabilitated
    i mean what could go wrong?

    • "peety"

      where in the Bible does it say you can’t get married to your same sex? Do you also want to ban divorce? The bible is very clear on divorce, but says nothing about same sex marriage

      and what does that have to do with Americans fetish with guns?

    • hellomurica

      If you dislike the level of freedom we enjoy, you can go to a place that should be a lot safer. Like North Korea. They won’t let you have guns there, being a homosexual is against the law, possession of drugs gets you lengthy imprisonment if not outright shot. Only thing I am not sure of is their stance in abortion. But yes – North Korea sounds like it’s right up your ally. Feel free to get the hell out of the U.S. and leave the rest of us alone.

  • The Decider

    It is sooooooneasy to get a gun. No background check required. People are constantly trying to trade me their guns on offer up and cl. I do t even go looking for guns and people just offer them up so willingly. Meet in a parking lot and trade. So simple. Want to see how easy it is? Post an item of value and say you want to trade for a gun. Bam. There you go.

    • greg

      it is a already Federal FELONY to supply any firearm in any manner to someone unable to possess it – but you apparently din’t know ir respect that

      just another anti-gun nut spewing shite – get educated

      • The Decider

        All that you just said is completely irrelevant to what I said. So quick to jump the gun and make an ignorant comment. Can you even read?

      • The Decider

        Absolutely nowhere in my post did I say anything “anti-gun nut” ish. I am not against guns. Are you trying to say because federal law prohibits selling guns to criminals, that means people will listen and there is no way I could potentially meet with someone in a parking lot and trade them a possession of mine for a gun? If you think that is not a possibility you are quite delusional. Tell me all about how criminals obey laws?

        • greg

          you are promoting that guns can be passed easily, when there are many laws in place that prohibit guns going to those not legally elligible – people need to acknowledge there are many laws already in place to manage the process & those laws are supposed to have some gravity (even if Dan Satterberg won’t enforce them)

          • The Decider

            There are many laws in place! But tell me what is in place to 100% stop people from breaking your dear laws? You cannot argue against the fact that guns change hands illegally every day and that the government will never have complete control on guns. Your laws you speak so strongly for do nothing for criminals. By acknowledging there are laws in place meant to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, and also by acknowledging how easy it is to get a gun privately from a stranger, I think that makes me more educated than you on this topic. I asked you to tell me all about how criminals follow the laws. Your argument is solely that there are laws to prevent bad guys from obtaining guns. No one is saying there are NO laws for that purpose. Now tell me how criminals follow these laws. Please. I would love to hear it.

  • greg

    per USA Today and they get it right (no matter the lies of Nick Hsnauer & WAGR):

    Internet sales. Guns may be advertised on the Internet or mail-order catalogs, but federal law requires those sales to be completed at a federally licensed firearms dealer. So Internet gun wholesalers will ship hard-to-find weapons to a local dealer, where all the same background check requirements apply.

  • Robert Posner

    You neglected to mention that if you lie on the federal form that is required to legally purchase a gun, it is a federal felony and you should be prosecuted for it.

  • AbigailDBerg

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  • Bob Jones

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 firearms (excluding BB and pellet guns) caused 84,258 nonfatal injuries (26.65 per 100,000 U.S. citizens) and 33,636 deaths (10.6 per 100,000).

    There are 319 million people in the U.S., which means about 1 out of every 2,705 people in the U.S. was shot by a firearm in 2013; about 1 out of every 9,484 people in the U.S. was killed by a firearm in 2013.

    Extrapolating over a typical lifetime of 74 years and assuming the above trends continue, 1 out of 37 people currently alive in the U.S. will be shot by a firearm during their lifetime; 1 out of every 128 people in the U.S. will be killed by a firearm during their lifetime, most well before they reach 74 years of age (about 1 out 192 will commit suicide with a gun, while 1 out of 384 will be shot to death by somebody else with a gun).

  • anonFAFA

    It’s so easy to get a gun in America, and yet, our streets aren’t running rampant with mass murders everyone hour in every city.

  • James

    No such thing as a gun show loophole. The buyer must always go through a background check (NICS). The person must sell through a FL licensed person. The people selling the guns at the gun show must be FL licensed which is a condition of having a location in the show.

  • Derek

    A background check is waived if life in danger.
    My wife puchased a sig 229 today at the show she said her life was in danger.
    Thats all she said. No background check for her.
    If she was asked whats the danger she would of said going home we are driving through rainier valley.
    What i mean is this is the loophole the buyer does not have to say what the imminent danger is just life in inimment danger.
    100% of people at a gun show could say this. Its legal.
    How do you like that you anti gun people.
    Hey just because white people are killing themselves in the suburbs does not mean black people in the inner city should have there guns taken away

  • Jim

    Next you should write an article demonstrating how easy it is to publish your own blog, website, newspaper, newsletter or just wave a sign that a particular Federal administration or local leadership doesn’t like without fear of immediate arrest or worse. That’s the 1st Amend, in action. Your article dealt with the 2nd Amend. which makes all that possible.